Wednesday 14 December 2011

In Praise Of Actual Albums

I really do not get music downloads. Not completely, anyway. I think maybe they're okay if the song is a pre-release from your favourite band and the record is not out in the shops yet. Okay if it's an otherwise unpublished, one-off single. Okay if the complete album is otherwise no longer obtainable. Okay if it is that one song of the latest Rihanna album that you love, but you cannot stand listening to the rest of the disc.

But apart from those occasions, I prefer to buy the album! On an actual CD. I'm not old or nerdy enough to own vinyl. When I first started getting into music, it was around the time that CDs were becoming really popular. Man, were they high tech! I guess that makes me a little bit old. 

I remember going to the record store, finding the album I was after (sometimes they had to order it in), and then carrying it home full of anticipation. Tearing the plastic wrap off, opening the CD player and putting the CD inside. Hitting play. And then, while the first notes of the first song started filling my ears, I would look at the booklet with the lyrics and the album art. I would lie back and listen to the music, studying the lyrics. Like reading a beautifully designed poetry pamphlet with audio enhancements.

Of course, not all albums come with art, or even lyrics. But if they do, I rejoice! Being able to read the lyrics alongside the songs makes me feel closer to the music. I get excited when I open a well made album. I love when I find beautiful illustrations, photos or maybe a funeral programme inside. Or when I discover that the lyrics have been printed on the back of polaroids. It appeals to the tactile and visual person that I am. I really appreciate the work that has gone into the artist's creation. I like going over to my music shelf, looking at the spines of the CDs and maybe being inspired to listen to something that has become a bit dusty from disuse.

I still feel the rush of anticipation when I open a new CD for the first time. I know I might sound old-fashioned, but that is why downloads just won't give me the full experience that I associate with music.

Please have a  look at the album art from a few of my favourite CDs:

 Feist - The Reminder
Arcade Fire - Funeral
 Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
 Turin Brakes - Ether Song
 First Aid Kit - The Big Black & The Blue
Pearl Jam - No Code

 Neat or what?

What about you? Do you download or get the hard copy? Do you own any vinyl? (I was kinda lying when I said I did not have ANY. I have one Paula Abdul record, one 12'' by Color Me Badd and one double album by Phil Collins... Hm.) Oh, and remember tapes?! Do you listen to music at all? What is your favourite music memory?


© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).


  1. I am completely the same here - I LOVE CDs, and really enjoy picking my way through the artwork and lyrics. I own a few albums on vinyl (Beach Boys, ZZTop etc) but I don't own a record player! It's at the top of our "To Buy" list for Australia though, as some people (Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield) were born to be listened to on a 12 inch!

  2. I too prefer to have the actual CD. Now, having said that I made my first download purchase recently. Amazon had the new She & Him Christmas album and the new Florence and the Machine for $4.99 each! They are over $10 to buy. I went for it. I also get tons of stuff from the library. I look at the artwork and stuff, but admittedly I burn about 95% of my music from the library these days.

  3. I am a downloader - we don't have mush in the way of storage in our house, so anything we can do to save space is a must! (we actually just copied all our dvd's onto an external hard drive, so that we didn't have to store cases anymore!)

    Oh and now I want to listen to Hard Sun...and I actually like Eddie Vedder's version better than the original!

  4. Finally someone who agrees with my "old fashioned" ways.
    If I'm parting with money, I want to be able to touch the thing I'm buying... and look at the pictures.
    Whenever I say this, people look at me a little wierdly and smile dumbly!
    Thankyou Annika for showing me that I am not alone.


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